[thoughts on ch. 2 of Desperate]
I chuckle when I think of my attitude when I was a first time/new mom. I had it all together and actually felt bored. My house was spic-n-span clean. All surfaces practically lickable- not that’d I’d encourage anyone to take me up on it. But I found myself with all my ducks in a row, i’s dotted, t’s crossed, cliche’, cliche’, cliche’…add a kid, then another, then one more just for fun and my sink is overflowing, toys strewn like a tornado hit, and my sanity is swirling somewhere in the vortex.
It takes a village. And I never read Hilary Clinton’s book so I’m not referencing her ideals. It’s chapter two- The Go-It-Alone Culture in Desperate, Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (by Sara Mae and Sally Clarkson). It makes sense. Our culture thrives on youth sports teams, playground antics, clubs, and extracurriculars but when you grow up it seems to disappear. Not suddenly but slowly. Kids grow up and move out. Get their own home (live alone perhaps). Marry. Have kids. But some how we stay home once the kids come, secluded because the dr. said that germs are bad for the baby. Then there’s the napping that happens all day and you don’t want to disturb all of it (maybe some of it, after all you’ve got to get the groceries and they’ll sleep in the car). So you might take a trip out into “the world” but you’re right back into your house because you’re a good mother and a well rested baby is a healthy baby, a smart baby, a happy baby. And then we realize that we’re alone.
My reaction (in action) to chapter 2 (with a little background):
Today a young/first time mom, neighbor and recent friend came over. Currently, she is where I was with one child under the age of one (bordering on boredom). She is searching for a community of moms to walk alongside her as she figures things out and watches her child learn and develop new skills everyday. She needs adult conversation and activity for herself as a woman. When she became a mom and added a new understanding of the word ‘selfless’ there was never any contract to give up being an individual (see- and I said I wasn’t a feminist- maybe just a wee bit lives in me). Balancing the world of new mom, womanhood, and wife is unchartered. Yes- unchartered, if you’re the new mom. No one can prepare you- you won’t believe it. You have to walk it to understand. But I understand her. I was her.
I have different needs as a mother being that my sanity lives somewhere in the abyss of homeschooling my elementary age daughters and at the same time caring for my Littles (2 cherubs under 3 years old). It seems that we both need each other in different ways.
Today my friend and I decided that we WOULD NOT GO
IT ALONE. We are going to break the culture that our American minds have been so engrained in thinking is the correct way to parent.
She is going to come over once a week for an hour and play with my two Littles. Her little man will get the benefit of playing with other kids ( he LOVES other kids. Yay! for a playgroup). She will get a bit of activity and some time out of her house. I will get one hour of uninterrupted time to teach my Bigs their homeschool lessons. WE will get a few minutes to chat before the late morning nap (or lunch) hits. And the super perk: I’ll watch her little boy once and a while so she and her hubby can go on a date night.
Quotes from the book that really hit home, I loved, or made me think (either currently or as a young mom -eons ago-)“Failure loomed over me as I realized I couldn’t seem to catch up with my ideals.” pg 17 ..”we need friendships with other women….this need sometimes put pressures on husbands to fulfill needs that they were never designed to fill. No matter how wonderful a man he may be,..” pg 20 “I needed a real live friend who could communicate to me that I was not invisible, and to show me thoughtfulness that comes from a heart moved by the Spirit of God.” pg. 20 “Cultivating friendships is a real talent and skill developed by mature and wise women of God.” pg 22
Encouragement. Do you have someone you’re in a playgroup with? go out for a girls’ night out? or read a book or bible study together? It’s still a tough road to be the best parent you can be but it’s a tremendous blessing to walk alongside amazing women and grow your families and friendships at the same time.